After an intense opening round, the new KCR Simulators F4 U.S. Esports Championship returns to action tonight, June 2 (6:30 p.m. EDT) at virtual Barber Motorsports Park.
With entries outnumbering the grid spots available, drivers took to the scenic Alabama circuit on Monday evening to pre-qualify, with nearly three dozen current, past and future Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda drivers securing spots for the second of five Esports series rounds.
Kiwi Motorsport F4 prospect Muhammad Ibrahim dominated last week’s opening round, leading every lap of the 22-lap race. Tonight, though, Ibrahim will face several challengers looking to upset him, including Simon Sikes and Viktor Andersson, both top five in the opener.
New to the entry list this week is F4 U.S. graduate and Formula Regional Americas driver Quinlan Lall. Lall finished in the top 10 of the FR Americas iRacing Invitational Championship and ended the pre-race qualifying with the third fastest time. After a sim and equipment upgrade, Lall has his eyes set on the F4 Esports crown.
“Tonight is my first race in [this series],” said Lall. “I look forward to getting back into the sim after having a fun FR Americas iRacing championship. This time around I feel more prepared and also have some upgraded equipment. I’ve received my new VR headset and have been putting it to good use, taking two podiums and a race win in the Formula Driver’s Challenge Invitational Series. I hope I can transfer that form into the F4 championship. I can’t wait to have the lights go out tonight.”
In the opening F4 U.S. Esports round, Aaron Rouf dodged several incidents on his way from a near-last-place start to finish ninth. Advancing a total of 15 positions, Rouf earned the KCR Simulators Hard Charger Award which included a private one-hour iRacing coaching session with three-time champion Dakota Dickerson.
Rouf got a late start to his racing career, turning his first laps at 40 years old. Mostly competing on ovals and in sim competition, Rouf will start open-wheel racing school in 2021 to participate with F4. His time spent with Dickerson shaved more than one second off his practice time, finishing with the 12th fastest time in pre-race qualifying on Monday.
“The coaching hour I received as the Hard Charger for the first race was invaluable,” said Rouf. “Dakota (Dickerson) is a great coach; he watches, reaffirms and then suggests what can improve. The knowledge of the track and the nuances I gleamed from Dakota was eye-opening. He broke down my telemetry data, and sent me an e-mail after the session with a summary of places to gain time. The confidence it gave me for this week at Barber — and going forward — was immense.”
Live coverage by Apex Racing TV starts at 6:30 p.m. EDT with a swift 10-minute qualifying followed by a 30-minute race and featuring “podium” interviews with the top drivers.
Fans can watch the action live on the F4 U.S. YouTube channel and Facebook page:
F4 U.S. YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb5kr6GRQxI
F4 U.S. Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/f4uschampionship/
Apex Racing Twitch – https://www.twitch.tv/apexracingtv
Live Timing and Scoring – https://www.apexracingtv.com/livetiming/
Round 1 Replay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpaiI9kUyUM